The new video app is also aimed at Musical.ly, which also rose in popularity thanks to teens. The app with 60 million monthly users was bought by Chinese tech giant ByteDance for about $1 billion and then added to the TikTok app, which also belonged to ByteDance.
“It’s basically TikTok/Musically. It’s full-screen, built for teens, fun and funny and focused on creation,” a source told TechCrunch. “A lot of what they’re doing is just trying to be cool.”
The new app is being built by Facebook’s video and Watch team members. The source said the project is being led by the company’s principal lead product designer, Brady Voss. He previously worked on Facebook’s TV app, and he shut down the Hello standalone app earlier this year.
“Brady is great with fun new camera and video things,” a source said.
Facebook has been watching Musical.ly since 2016, and a source told TechCrunch that the company conducted a research project to look into the teen music app. However, the researchers suspected that Musical.ly wouldn’t become very popular.
Facebook first announced that it’s enabling people to add music to their video clips, but that was only to prevent copyright infringement from creators due to teens posting clips from Musical.ly. Then Instagram launched stickers which allow users to add soundtracks to their stories. Facebook is rolling out that feature now.
Meanwhile, TikTok is gaining in popularity, climbing from the number 32 spot among all iPhone apps in the U.S. to fifth place, according to App Annie data cited by TechCrunch. That also resulted in a decline in Facebook’s popularity, which is why the social network is developing the new video app.
Just 5% of U.S. teens call Facebook their favorite social media network, a recent Piper Jaffray survey reports. The percentage of teens who use it monthly has dropped from 60% to 36% since spring 2016, which is why Facebook has been introducing new ways to connect on the app, bringing it into direct competition with other popular apps.
This is not Facebook’s first attempt to win popularity with standalone apps. Other efforts include Poke, Slingshot, Bolt and a number of Snapchat-based apps. However, the tech giant now has a great chance to stand in the way of China’s ByteDance.